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Medical debt need not burden the lives of cancer victims

There are many unfair aspects of our health care insurance coverage for consumers in Arkansas and throughout the nation. The most devastating aspect of the weaknesses of the system is seen with those people who are fighting a possibly fatal disease such as cancer. Instead of the health care network nationwide being set up to take care of those individuals, it is more harsh on them by loading them up, in many cases, with huge medical debt that cannot be re-paid.

Incredibly, this not only happens to people on public assistance or disability insurance, but it happens to those citizens who are holding down a job and who are covered by medical insurance. The cost of cancer care is prohibitive even for people who have insurance. Furthermore, the problem is exacerbated with the addition of the bills for cancer medicine, many of which may be experimental or at least new on the market.

Studies report that people with cancer generally fall into deep financial debt. Many of them contemplate filing bankruptcy, but the myths that creditors and other interests support regarding the pitfalls of bankruptcy instill fear in even those who are fighting for their lives. It is true, however, that once a patient has reached a successful point of remission, a qualified person who files a bankruptcy will quickly relinquish forever all medical bills that have built up for years.

There is never an easy path to take when one is fighting a potentially fatal disease. The financial crunch that emerges is indeed a frightening addition to the person's problems. However, despite some inconveniences of bankruptcy, the ultimate effect on a person's life is relatively minimal and can be corrected with some focused effort. It is proper and appropriate for an Arkansas resident to eliminate unsecured medical debt in bankruptcy under federal law. The alternative, which involves simultaneously suffering with a disease and with the anxiety of being dunned by aggressive bill collectors, is far more uncomfortable.

Source: richmond.com, "VCU study: Third of cancer survivors say it led to financial woes", Tammie Smith, March 20, 2016

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